After sailing on the Atlantic Universal for about Nine months, I signed off the ship in Sheerness, England and went back home.
I did not have happy feelings on arrival at home because of the news I’ve already had about my father’s ill health. He went through a major operation but did not seem to recover, well. This made us very sad.
In the meantime, I applied to the Maritime College in Sydney, Australia and within a few weeks after having received my acceptance, I had to make necessary preparations to proceed to Australia latest by end January in the coming year. Whatever the work I had, I always found time to take my father to the doctors for consultations and treatment.
Christmas that year was not a good one for my family and I.
New year was dawn, and I left for Australia with my wife on January 28 that year. Upon arrival in Sydney, we were met and taken to his house by one time the superintendent of the shipping company I worked for. He helped us to find an apartment and when we found a suitable one we shifted to live there.
I joined the college, and started attending classes the first week of February. I called my father regularly, and it appeared his condition was deteriorating. I was engrossed in my studies preparing for the forthcoming exams and without my knowledge I had let a few weeks pass without checking on my father’s health condition.
I immediately called home when I realised this, but unfortunately the telephone was out of order. Then I contacted one of my father’s brothers who told me that his condition was not very good. I felt that he avoided giving me details.
On the 7th of April 1989, I returned home after completing one paper. Well, I had no problems answering that and I thought that being a Friday I must have a good evening.
Around 4.15 p.m. the telephone rang, when I picked it up for a moment I thought it was my father’s voice but what that person said was not clear. I immediately called home and was happy to have found the phone working.
My mother’s cousin answered the phone and he asked me to hold on while my mother came on line. She could not talk and was breaking down; with great difficulty she said “Son, your father passed away. On hearing this the receiver in my hand fell on the floor and, with that the line was disconnected.
I called again and my mother’s cousin came on line and told me that my father passed away at home at about 12.00 noon on that day.
It was very bad news. With all I knew of my father’s sickness I always thought that he would live for another few years.
I was all alone and wept uncontrollably with thoughts of my father tearing my heart, soul and my very being.
I had nothing much to do; I called home and spoke with my mother once again. I confirmed that it is impossible for me to attend the funeral and therefore they ought not to delay it but have it on Sunday when it’s convenient for people to attend. She agreed and said she will convey the message to my brother.
Thereafter, I began to pray and I refer to the following verse from the Holy bible: John 11 : 25 –26
Then I imagined that, ‘my father had served the purpose of God and has returned back to Him.’